Om Ganapathi Namaha!
I was born into a Hindu Family in Sri Lanka, and was brought up as a Hindu. Most of the family and extended families were practising Hindus (Saivas) and would visit Temples on a regular basis (Fridays being sacred)..and especially on auspicious days or religious festive days.. My Uncle Raveenthiran and Aunt Ratna (I call them Periyappa & Periyamma) took me to so many special temples and rituals which they sponsored, that I had a front row seat at rituals…sitting with them and priests during those rituals. To this day, I attribute my Hindu spiritual exposure and instillment to these two important people in my life. (They are retired and now live in Colombo, where my uncle Raveenthiran conducts special ceremonies and poojas in his home regularly and local friends and communities attend).
I came to London in 1985, at the age of 15 as a refugee seeking political asylum. Within months of arriving in UK, I attended the Shree Ganapathy temple in Wimbledon (SW London) where one of my uncle & aunt were married. (This temple recently underwent a year long renovation and I have been attending the reconsecration events & ceremonies…which I shall write about in due course).
Back in 1990, when my father met with a road accident, suffered severe head injuries and died, I became disillusioned with any religious practices. However I continued to be interested in psychic abilities and mind powers. This eventually led me to learning about the Practise of ritual magic and Pagan religions .. such as Druids, Wicca, Shamanism (these are in effect western pagan religions, as Hinduism is one of the Eastern Pagan religions). It is to be noted that both Hinduism and western pagan religions honour nature directly as divine, have many Gods & Goddesses, and acknowledge the powers of elements Air, Fire, Water & Earth, believe in the practise of rituals and worships that can change the fates of people..and so on. Some of it is not surprising, as many western spiritual people had travelled, visited or studied Eastern religions & ritual practises..and then brought all that knowledge more so to the west.. such as the Chakra systems, Yoga, meditation, Tantra and so much more.
It is noteworthy that I grew up with limited number of friends (shy, family circumstances) and so spent most of my free time at home reading Hindu myths and legends (we did not have TV till I was of the age 11). I learnt of Lord Shiva’s tests and visits to his true devotees, of Lord Vishnu’s 10 incarnations, great epics Ramayanam and Mahabharatham, Murugan’s stories in Kanthapuranam and so on. Those Gods and Lords in their divine or mortal forms became my childhood role models, their ideals and philosophies becoming ingrained in me as my own. Rightly or otherwise, they have given me a foundation of what is right and wrong, and I make no excuses for it. As a logical, thinking adult with a scientific mind ( Physics degree!) I do (always) inspect, analyse, review and adjust my ideals.. So they are not fixed and become dogmatic. My knowledge of Psychology aids me in this, so that I do not blindly judge my fellow people..From about 1995, I became deeply involved in Wicca & Western Paganism, and became an initiated Wiccan Priest and later a 2nd degree Wiccan High Priest. My Hindu beliefs and practices became integrated with my wiccan /pagan practices.. (some of my Wiccan 2nd degree Goddess invocations were to Hindu Goddesses!)
And here were are in 2019.. with my many Hindu interests now developing further – with work with mantras, yantras, temple ceremonies, even woodland Hindu rituals.
Bright Stellar Blessings